Eyebrow Shaping: The Secret to Lifting and Framing Your Face
I've spent the past eighteen years sculpting the brows of men and women from all walks of life. While some clients are more famous than others, the equation for creating perfect eyebrows is the same for everyone -- eyebrows should fully frame the eyes and complement your bone structure.
I'm an advocate of tweezing and trimming because it offers the most precision and therefore the most perfect results. I find that waxing or threading is not as hygienic and also doesn't offer the precision of tweezing. One wrong move with wax or threading and a big chunk of your eyebrow goes missing! That said, some people do prefer those methods. Whichever you choose, here are some do's and don'ts to follow.
Take a conservative approach if you're shaping your brows yourself. My motto is, "When in doubt, don't pluck it out!" You can always remove an errant hair later if you decide it needs to go.
Take a good multivitamin and brush through your brows daily to stimulate hair growth.
Show photos of your ideal eyebrows to your brow expert. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Follow nature. Your eyebrows should align with your bone structure. This means the arch should peak where your brow bone protrudes the most. The worst eyebrows occur when people try to create a brow that nature never intended, like shaving off the back half of your brow and drawing it in at a different angle.
Work in straight lines. The line below the front of your brows should not curve in any way. This curve is what causes the dreaded hook or tadpole-shaped brow!
Go to a brow expert who comes highly recommended. Word of mouth is the best advertising. If you see someone with brows you admire, ask them who does their brows.
Fill in your brows. Even the most fabulous eyebrows look better when filled with a brow pencil or pen. Choose a brow filler thats either two shades lighter than your hair color or two shades darker if you're pale blonde or grey. Or opt for a brow filler that's universally flattering.
Permanently dye your eyebrows. Lightening or darkening your brows can improve the look of your brows, but brow hair grows at a different rate than the hair on our head, so you may end up with tiger-striped eyebrows. Also, if you darken your brows to make them appear less sparse, you are darkening the existing hairs but this also makes the sparse areas more noticeable. Filling the brows with makeup fills in the areas between the hairs making the brows look more full and plush. Dye won't achieve this.
Wax your eyebrows. Waxing is for cars! Seriously, I think waxing is fine from the lip on down,where you want to remove every hair, but not for the eyebrows.
Shape your brows yourself when in a hurry. I've seen more self-inflicted brow disasters that all start with, "I was in a hurry and..."
How to Shape or Maintain Your Eyebrows
- a large mirror, preferably near a bright window
- a good pair of tweezers
- grooming scissors
- a small brush (RAMY Browtility Brush, a baby toothbrush or old mascara wand that's been cleaned with makeup remover are ideal)
- lastly, 40 minutes set aside so that you don't rush, which often leads to the worst brow fiascos!
There are two golden rules when it comes to eyebrows: Always remember that less is more, and try to look at your face objectively. I've seen many people stand so close to the mirror that they can't see the forest for the trees. A good test is to stand two to three feet away from the mirror, so that you DON'T see every little hair. Look at your face in its entirety first, and then look at your eyebrows in proportion to the rest of your face. Then move in closer to your reflection and look at your eyebrows and think about where you may need to remove hair. Then, move closer still and begin shaping.
Remember that it's the hairs you leave behind that make up your eyebrow, not just the hairs you remove. If you keep this in mind as you tweeze it will help you avoid getting carried away and over-tweezing, which is human nature.
Brush your eyebrows upward and then downward to assess excess length. If there is excess length, trim them with the scissors as conservatively as possible -- as though you are trimming split ends. The scissor should align with the top of your brows where you want the length to end.
First, tweeze the most obvious stray hairs, those hairs that are clearly not part of your eyebrows. Then tweeze from underneath the brow, removing one row of hair from beginning of brow to end. Pluck hairs out in the direction of hair growth. If necessary, remove second row of hair from directly underneath arch, to open it up. Then clean the hairs I refer to as "no man's land," those hairs that are not part of your eyebrow or part of your hairline but exist somewhere in the middle, fuzzying things up. Lastly, pluck between eyebrows.
Using a brush, comb brows downward. If there still exists excess length, trim it, cutting against the grain. Remember, trim very conservatively, you can always cut off more, but once it's trimmed too much, there is nothing to do but wait for it to grow back!
Fill in your brows using a pencil, pen, pomade, or eyebrow gel. My least favorite formula is powder because it won't adhere as well as wax-based formulas which will stay on even if you go swimming! Whichever formula you select, always take a few seconds to brush the brow filler through your brows with a seperate brush. This removes excess product and blends what's left behind for a natural finish. It's the differance between having "made-up" eyebrows and fabulous eyebrows.
If you follow these simple steps, your brows should look groomed and polished, which will open up your whole face and lift your eyes!
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